Tussle between BJP-Sena on seat allotment to RPI-A: Athawale
By  IANS | Updated:  Mar 07, 2019, 12:09 PM
Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday claimed there are differences between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena on which Mumbai seat to allocate to his RPI-A for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"While the Shiv Sena feels the RPI should contest Mumbai North-East, the BJP wants to give us Mumbai South-Central seat," said Athawale, who heads the Republican Party of India-Athawale.
Mumbai North-East is currently represented by the BJP's Kirit Somaiya, while Mumbai South-Central is held by Shiv Sena's Rahul Shewale.
Both parties are not keen to give up their respective seats in the country's commercial capital in favour of Athawale, and reportedly even elsewhere in the state, which has 48 Lok Sabha constituencies, the second-highest in the country after Uttar Pradesh's 80.
Upping the ante, the RPI-A chief, who is a Rajya Sabha member, demanded that the BJP-Sena must allot at least one of the two city constituencies to his party in the high-stakes elections.
Last week, the leaders of all the five smaller National Democratic Alliance (NDA) constituents from Maharashtra held a meeting where they unanimously raised the demand for adequate number of seats for both the Lok Sabha and assembly elections from the BJP-Sena.
After blowing hot-and-cold for over a year, last month, the BJP-Sena entered into an alliance and have decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections in the ratio of 25:23, leaving out all other parties in the alliance high and dry.
However, they have decided to contest the state assembly elections on a 50:50 basis, after seat allotments to the smaller alliance partners.
There has been no response from the BJP-Sena to the demands made by the smaller allies for Lok Sabha seats, even as the Election Commission is expected to announce the 2019 polls schedule any day.
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